Hi everyone. Just thought i'd drop a quick line and say G'day from Perth, Western Australia.
I've been interested in blacksmithing for a while now, but honesly its been more of a daydream than anything. I hate to be such a noob but I've googled my way around and havent been able to find a good site telling me exactly what is needed to even begin smithing.
My knowledge is about 0.5%,. +/- 5% ;) Basically i'm wondering if there is anyone out there who could point me in the right direction to get started. There seems to be no 'old school' smiths in my neck of the woods who can give me directions.
have you read any books? "A blacksmithing primer" is good. I have others but am away from my library at the moment and don't remember any blacksmithing titles offhand. What are your interests. If you lean towards making knives then "the complete bladesmith" is a good start.
And for for metallurgy "Metallurgy theory and practice"
Astragalpress.com (i think that's right) carries some of these others can be found used.
Gday Niko, I'm new to this group too, but have been smithing on and off for years. I'm in Brisbane. I'll do my best to help you if you like, you can email me directly if you want. Its been my experience that to get into smithing you can go down a number of paths, buy everything you need/want (expensive if you can find it), Make everything (difficult for the beginner) or some combination, which is where I started.
The things you must have are: Safety glasses, a hammer, something to hammer on, some form of forge and some type of tongs/large pliers.
You don't have to buy much to start with, any hammer will do in a pinch, even (shock) a carpenters claw hammer if you can't get anything else, but I'd look for ball pein or blacksmiths cross-pein. If you don't have the money to buy new or don't want too, I'd look at garage sales, flea markets and swap-meets, you should get them for a few dollars each (my favorite cost $2). You can also look for tongs at these places, but if you can't find any to start with you could use a pair of large fencing pliers, just be careful not to burn yourself.
You can use a section of railway track as an anvil till you find one.
I made my first forge from an old tractor brakedrum and vacuum cleaner. You can use old steel wheels in a similar manor. An old hairdryer makes a simple blower. Most beginners blacksmithing books cover building a basic forge, often from metal pipe fittings. You can bolt parts together, they don't generally have to be welded.
If your looking for a place to buy gear and can't find a blacksmith supply store, try a stockmans supply store or a store that deals with the horse racing industry. Here near Brisbane, The village Smith
can help you, and yes they mail-order somethings.
One word of advice, Be very, very careful, and wear your safety glasses. Have fun, Regards Rusty_iron
First, fuel type. Available fuels include coal, natural gas, propane, charcoal. Pick a fuel based on long term availability in your area, you'll be using a LOT of it. After you decide on a fuel, the tooling will be an easier decision. You'll need a firebox, some sort of anvil, hammers, tongs to manipulate the work, EYE PROTECTION, gloves, leather top shoes, a source of abundant fresh air in the work area. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, silent killer. By the time you realize you're in trouble, it's usually too late. Carbon monoxide is heavier than air. Overadequate ventilation cannot be stressed too much. (I've got an old swamp cooler, makes a ten mph breeze through the entire shop.)
Next, think about just what you want to make, the tooling varies widely depending on the finished product. Tooling for sheetmetal is different from tooling for blades is different from tooling for ornamental iron. It's not hard, if you're a good scrounge it's cheap, and it's very theraputic. Smithing relieves stress. There's something verrrrry satisfying about beating the crap out of a piece of hot iron after a miserable day at work.
Thanks for the tip. I've sourced an Anvil for just over 100 bucks as a start. I've got an old mallet which I believe has been used for similar purposes... as for the forge, i've tried googling for a diagram of one thats easy to make but no luck... any suggestions / links etc?
I will most likely need to hit the library for some books. Trust me to get interested right in the busy season at work!
As for the other tools, I think i'l buy the tongs and attempt making some others myself... be a good start... if you have any diagrams of commonly used tools that would be a great help.
Good to see a fellow skip is into the old ways! :)
Amen to that! I get an incredible sense of peace and satisfaction from watching the sun go down as I work a piece of metal at the forge. It's kind of like sitting around the campfire and working the stress out of your muscles all at the same time.
Alex Bealer's book on blacksmithing is pretty good for tool ideas. don't remember the name right now. If there are any historic reenacting type of places nearby or museums you may be able to see tools that were used.
As for forges, I made a coal / charcoal one from an old weber barbque grill. If i can find the link (Alvin was kind enough to host the picture) I'll put it and I think I know where to get a diagram, let me look.
.......... there is a diagram to be found here
back to looking for my pic............
found it, this is my setup.
if you want some basic instructions, ask. (more typing than i want if you can understand from the above)
Just a note to tell you we *do* have a blacksmithing group in Western Australia, and it has its share of "old-school" smiths We've downed tools for the holidays, but will be starting up in January. Drop me an email for more details....